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There's always a first time for everything. What get you into the hobby?


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I got into saltwater fish and coral by trying to research how to care for freshwater fish on YouTube and kept coming across saltwater stuff. But what actually drove me mad about fish and saltwater was coral fish12gs clownfish tank. Only now am I starting to realise that this hobby was meant for me as I was always surrounded by fish growing up. My first fishing trip was when I was 2 and I think when I was 3 or 4 I asked Santa for a ocean. 

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I actually stumbled on this site as had just purchased a 30G aqaurium complete with clownfish. I gave the clown to the LFS as i wanted the tank for freshwater, but read a lot on here and links supplied by its members and eventually joined the hobby with one of the contests

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My dad had studied breeding behavior of convict cichlids in college (you called it, @mcarroll) so we always had FW tanks around. Meanwhile, my grandparents had a saltwater tank back since the dark ages of the hobby. Just one vicious wild caught true percula clown that killed everything else, a chocolate chip star, and a coral banded shrimp. When I went to their house the first thing I always did was run to the tank and watch it. They lost interest because their clownfish kept them from adding anything new so they gifted me the tank (and the killer clownfish) for my 13th birthday. The clownfish would attack my hand and draw blood every time, but I still adored her. That led to a whole succession of tanks (11, to be exact) and my first job at the LFS until I left home for college.


When I started grad school and knew I was going to be in one place for a while I finally got to start a tank again. I went with FW because of budget (see: grad school). But three years ago my parents (who caught the saltwater bug from me and had kept several of my old tanks running all this time) sent me photos of a new purchase: a yellow watchman goby and pistol shrimp pair. I was all 🤩 and my husband commented that he was surprised I still hadn't set up a saltwater tank. I thought we had a one tank in the house rule, but apparently not. Within the week I'd bought a used biocube 29 with ALL the fixings for $300. Three years later I still have the FW tank and currently three reef tanks. I have a yasha/candy cane pistol in one tank and a tiger pistol in another (there's a yellow watchman, too, but he's currently in the third tank. When I can catch him, I plan to pair him up with the tiger). And there's a pair of clowns who host in my pulsing xenia rather than my RBTA, but they are sweet little beggars rather than vicious killers. Gotta love those awesome symbiotic critters!



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Always had an affinity for animals and always watch animal documentaries as a child on discovery channel back in the day. I lived in south Florida and was always near the ocean. Once I moved out and got my first appartment  and was able to have a reef tank I was hooked.

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I was introduced to it by a colleague in grad school. He had a massive 200G that he DIY'd from scratch. I helped him a very very minor amount with some controller code DIY (mostly me learning). It was an impressive and thriving tank. I was completely mesmerized by the fact that you could keep a slice of the ocean in your bedroom. Always wanted one, and learned that I could do a nano. Its been a good 5 years since I first started planning it out in my head. Had no money as a poor grad student. Now after a few years of working, I feel like I am in a place where I can invest in a hobby that needs a lot of time, energy, resources, and a level of maturity to nurture.  I did build a planted aquascape that did quite well as a means to getting my feet wet (ha ha) with the basics. Although, reefing is a completely different beast, I feel encouraged to try.

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